Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Savage River’ category

Fishing The Savage River

Friday, June 21, 2019

We know fishing the northeast is technical, meaning you have to match the hatch, and the fly has to be presented without drag. There are lots of hatches, so depending not only on the time of the year, but sometimes even the time of day, the hatch will change. These are things we are not good at, but I recon we are going to have to learn. We brought hundreds of flies, but we never seem to have the right things, and end up buying more.

On our way down the mountain on a narrow road, we came up on a truck stopped in front of a tree that had fallen across the road. Walking down to the truck, we met Tom, who had a strap tied to the tree. He had chopped the remaining trunk where it had broken with a hatchet. Then he tried to pull the end across the road, but the trunk was now locked behind another old tree stump. After standing, looking at the tree for a while, Kelly suggested getting a bottle jack to lift it over the stump. I never would have come up with that one, but I do have two bottle jacks. We had to lift it, then put RV leveling blocks under it so we could move the jack closer to the stump. Finally we got it above the stump and Tom was able to drag it. Suddenly, as we celebrated our victory, I saw the power line shaking over my truck. The other end of the tree was on the power line, and I envisioned the line dropping onto my truck. While it wasn’t  broken line yet, it might be soon. I jumped into the truck and quickly backed up as Tom slowly dragged the tree. A telephone pole folded my side mirror forward. Luckily, it folds that way and didn’t break. Tom was grateful for the help and gave us some tips on where to fish.

IMG_3873IMG_3874IMG_3877IMG_3878

First we fished the tailwaters below Savage River Reservoir. Kelly fished at the bridge and down, while I fished up toward the dam. We changed flies frequently. It is always more fun to fish dry flies on top of the water, where you can see the fish strike. I had two hits and two misses. The river is moving fast where I fished, so it is hard to maintain a perfect drift, but I had enough to warrant better action. Who knows? Well somebody knows. Is it the wrong fly, the wrong time of day or the wrong presentation. I think the fish are probably there, but they have seen LOTS of fishermen, flies and presentations. I saw one fish come up, inspect my dry fly and then disappear. 

IMG_3879IMG_3880

This part of the river is slippery with big rocks, making it hard for a 72-year old to walk the stream. It was a bad idea to walk and fish at the same time. By 12:30 I was tired, frustrated and hungry, so I climbed the steep bank and walked back to the truck. After a phone call, Kelly came up. He hadn’t had any luck either.

We went down to the Savage River Fly Shop and talked with the very nice owner, Tom, who was free with information on what to do and how to do it. We bought 8 small sulfur flies that he told us to fish without casting. Any drag on the fly would tip off the fish, so he recommended dabbing – holding the rod out over the stream while dangling the fly in the water around and under big boulders. We dropped downstream a ways and tried the suggested technique. Nada, nothing, zilch. Wrong time of day for dabbing? We dropped downstream and tried it again with no luck.

IMG_3883IMG_3884

Then we drove up to a beautiful, little feeder stream, Middle Fork, and Kelly fished. I followed and took pictures. He had several decent rolls at his small Royal Coachman. It’s just the way it works. Then a big one hit. Kelly only felt it for 10 seconds before he got loose. That one would keep him awake that night. He kept seeing the flash of red or orange on his belly. He had one more nice strike before we got to private property and had to quit. 

IMG_3881IMG_3885_1GW1681_1GW1686_1GW1675_1GW1674

The Savage River

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Unlike our four-month expedition in 2013, the sun was shining. We drove through beautiful country, north on I81, west on 33, then north on 220. We have driven 220 on many sections and is one gorgeous road. 

We reached our destination, Bumblebee RV Park just outside Accident, Maryland. The new owner, Lisa, met us and showed us around. It’s a nice, little campground with good restroom/shower facilities and very nice owners.

We quickly went on reconnaissance for fishing the Savage River above and below the Savage River Reservoir. We watched several people fishing a large bridge pool without any luck, then headed on to the Savage River Fly Shop. The owner, Mike, met us, and was very nice about telling us the lay of the land and what to do. He has 3 very nice cabins for rent right on the river and his small shop has a little of everything one might need to fish the area. We almost had a trip-ending accident in Accident. Kelly was helping me unhook the trailer spring bar. There was too much pressure on it, and when it sprung, the release bar barely missed his valuables.

We decided to fish above the reservoir, where native brook trout live. There are several tributaries around the reservoir ranging greatly in both length and size. We fished Poplar Lick for a couple of hours with several strikes, and Kelly caught a small one. Maybe tomorrow we will try below the tailwater section.

We then returned to the campground and, over cocktails and dinner, began our recollections and comparisons of today and our Canada trip six years ago.